Here I was, having a slow week here at Poseur HQ and letting the boss drive the big ship and take a backseat for LSU's inevitable loss in the basketball tourney. It's a busy week for me both personally and professionally, as work demands took up lots of time and mental energy, coupled with the impending visit of my mother, which sucked up all my remaining energy and time. So we were likely headed for a week without a baseball post as I couldn't really get juice up for another tune-up series, especially one without Ranaudo pitching.
Then the Kansas blog comes and saves the day.
The last time KU visited LSU in 2003 the Jayhawks stunned pretty much everyone by sweeping the series. Over the last few years I have not kept my dislike of SEC baseball a secret, so, not surprisingly, I will be more invested in the outcome of this series than most. SEC baseball teams have rubbed college baseball fans across the nation the wrong way for decades by their refusal to play non-conference road games and the favoritism they receive most years from the NCAA tournament committee. Many college baseball fans think that SEC teams should either prove themselves by scheduling quality non-conference road games or drop their sense of entitlement.
I can't speak for the rest of the SEC, but I know what fuels LSU's sense of entitlement. All of those titles. LSU doesn't have to prove diddly squat to Kansas. Look at the billboard in right field, those are our tough OOC games. We played them in Omaha.
It's not that LSU "refuses" to play to tough OOC games on the road. Heck, I would like for LSU to schedule a tough non-conference series as well. But until another program starts bringing in 9000 fans per game, we're gonna keep playing games at home. Why lose money to play on the road to help build up baseball in another region when the program can actually make money, make the tourney, and then play for national titles? And I'm certainly not going to take crap for our schedule from a fan of team that just played two NAIA schools.
I'm not sure we've rubbed fans the wrong way across the country. OK, there's some bad blood with UC-Irvine and USC, but anyone who has ever been to Omaha can report to the good feelings the locals there have towards LSU. Maybe they are lying to us, but if so, they are really good liars. I haven't really heard of LSU rubbing other fans the wrong way across the country except for the way we, you know, beat them.
In keeping with their flightless tradition, LSU's first twelve games were played at home against less than impressive opponents. This season all but 2 of LSU's 26 non-conference games will be played in Baton Rouge, and the two road games will still be in Louisiana. Last year the first non-conference game the Tigers played outside Louisiana was at the College World Series! If KU can take two of three games in Baton Rouge I am sure they will be back in the national rankings and will have made a lot college baseball fans happy.
Yeah, and what happened when we went outside Louisiana? Oh, that's right. We won the national frickin' title. So how exactly is not playing outside Louisiana HURTING the program? If it's making LSU money and resulting in titles, isn't that a good thing? And it's not like going into New Orleans to play Tulane every year is some layup game. The reason LSU doesn't have to leave the state is that there are other good baseball programs in the state.
I think there are people who want to see LSU to lose, not because of some nefarious scheduling, but because nobody likes the big bully on the block. We're the top of the mountaintop, so other teams want what we have. That's the way it's supposed to work. But I honestly don't think there's anything to this hatred more than seething resentment.
We're better than Kansas. We're a lot better. Sure, we might drop a game or even the series... we have to lose eventually. But here's the great thing, we don't care if we lose a series in March. Because one of these two programs will still be playing in June, guess who that will be? Things have changed a bit since 2003 around these parts. This ain't the Smoke Lavall Era anymore. We fire coaches for not winning enough games in Omaha here. No program has higher expectations than LSU. We ain't ducking anybody, we just know the season's success is not determined by beating Random School U in March. It's made by beating the very best teams in the country in June.
Oh, is that rubbing Kansas the wrong way? Then don't poke the tiger(s) with a stick. We bite.